“Reconstruction is the process by which the states that had seceded were reorganized as part of the Union after the Civil War”. This period lasted from 1865-1877 and was mostly evident in the southern states. This was an important time in the history of the United States because it started a discrimination that turned fellow citizens against each other based on their appearances. This went directly against the Constitution which stated, “All Men are Created Equal” which is ironic because the Civil War was started because each side believed they were more constitutional, and the end result was the opposite of constitutional.
In the long run, Reconstruction helped black people move closer to accomplishing to the American Dream. But short term, White southerners limited African American’s chances to achieving the American dream politically, economically, and socially. But In the end, black people got political rights from Reconstruction, but because of the white people’s interference, they could not utilize their rights. After the 15th Amendment was passed, African Americans were given the right to vote, and they were thrilled because they could now have a say in how their country was ruled.
Many of them were so eager for more political power fter they got the right to vote, that they decided to run for office. ““African Americans held office in the South during Reconstruction (percentage of AA population was small though. ) Held positions in high state offices, federal & state legislatures, sheriff’s, lieutenant governors, etc. ” With this newfound power, many white people criticised them and their competence. White people said that the blacks were “corrupt” and “incompetent” and that they did not belong in office because most were uneducated and 70% of them could not write or read in 1880.
The white people argued that the people with political power hould be educated to know to make the most effective choices for our country, so therefore African Americans should not hold political office or take part in political elections. But because of the 15th Amendment, states cannot ban voting on the basis of race. In result of this belief, in 1890 white southerners came up with original ways to limit the participation of black people in political elections.
These ideas were, the Grandfather Clause, Literacy Tests, Poll Tax, and the 8-Box System. The 8-Box system was a complicated system which required voters to put each ballot in the correct box. If the vote was placed in the wrong box, it was thrown out. ” This was difficult for the uneducated blacks, because if they could not read they most likely would put the ballot in the wrong box, resulting with their vote being thrown away. The last political disadvantage to the black people was the Compromise of 1877. This was a compromise between the North and the South saying that if the southern democrats allowed Rutherford B. Hayes to become President, then Hayes would promise to remove all federal troops from the South, and allow them to control themselves.
This was the worst of all the political disadvantages because lack hate groups emerged, and many innocent blacks were killed over small disagreements. Also the federal government could not step in, in fear of breaking the compromise and of starting another war. The blacks were left to perish, and they could not do anything about it, because they cannot change the color of their skin. During the Reconstruction, African Americans acquired economic rights but they could not utilize them.
Most of the newly freed slaves, had spent their whole lives doing endless hours of work for their owners. At least during slavery, the slaves had places to sleep and food to eat. “After the Civil War, ewly freed slaves needed work to survive. Many former slaves went back to work for former owners (for pay). . . African- Americans now had the right to buy and sell property. ” With this newfound freedom, black people needed money to use their rights, and this led many of them to go back to their old slave owners for work, which got them nowhere.
This directed black people into Sharecropping. This was an economic system where people would rent land from a landowner, and pay for that land with a percentage/share of the crops grown. “You can only get out if you are out of debt which rarely happens…. ” This was a ery unreliable system, which in most cases put families further into debt, because of the unpredictable weather. The third economic disadvantage during the Reconstruction was that the type of work for black people was limited.
“Some states requires a judge’s approval for a black person to work outside of agriculture. This was unfair to the black people because a white person could be any profession, but black people needed legal permission before choosing their job. African Americans definitely did not advance economically during this time. Aside from economic problems, white people abused blacks socially. African Americans did not advance socially at all during this time, and it was so destructive that some of the acts upon them were inhumane. During Reconstruction, a social club emerged called the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The KKK targeted political and social leaders of black communities.
Their tactics were beating, whipping, and they murdered thousands. “The family of Daniel Blue, colored, murdered in Moore County. Blue was wounded and escaped. His wife was killed. She was heavy with child. His five other children were murdered, the house set on fire, and the bones of all found next morning. ” This is a prime example of he brutality the KKK was capable of, over a person who challenged their power. Another social restriction were the Black Codes, which were laws that restricted the civil and legal life of African Americans and left them with few rights.
Some examples of these laws were, “African Americans could not marry white people, vagrancy laws, and they could not enter some towns without permission. ” These laws were completely unnecessary, the black people would have to schedule a time to visit their families, which is unacceptable. The third restriction was lynching, “Lynching was to put someone to death for an alleged ffense by mob action without legal processes or authority. ” This was inhumane, and way too common in the south. White southerners would come to these lynchings, and have fun because it was a public outing.
But they would not think of it as murder, because black people were not “people” in their eyes. The social norms were so atrocious during this time period that black people were not treated much better than they were as slaves. All of these pieces of evidence show how black people were limited from achieving the “American Dream. ” The American dream is this idealistic life goal, that most Americans have, and any blacks could not even think of achieving this, because they lived in fear of white southerners.
Black people did get rights during the Reconstruction, but with the aggression of the whites, they could not put their rights to use. This topic is a very important time in history because it shows how unfairly and cruelly blacks were treated, and it can help us learn from our mistakes. In the same sense of inequality, this can relate to the unequal treatment of women that is still going on to this day. Hopefully learning about this, can make people realize how everyone should be equal, no matter what they look like or what gender they are.